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The Inward Journey

A Poet’s World

by Dr.  Sushil Fotedar

The present day world with all its shimmering charms and loud noises has made most of us such hopeless extroverts that we fail to recognize even the possibility of gazing inwards and seeing the beauty of exploring utterly new vistas deep inside the realms of consciousness. At best, we accept such an introversion as a possible but meaningless exercise and at worst, as some manifestation of schizophrenia or endogenous depression. When some time back I told one of my colleagues at work that the single most important thing that needs to be contemplated is the mystery of death, he was frightened and taken aback at the same time, and when I added that such a contemplation about the transience of life makes it more beautiful and worth going through with intense sensitivity, he looked at me with disgust and told me that I needed the services of a psychiatrist at the earliest! All said and done, most of us or rather, almost all of us, avoid such ‘boring’ and ‘meaningless’ exercises and would like to run around in more ‘exciting’ pastures of the glamorous external world. Some of my very sensitive and intelligent friends have even come to the conclusion that it is needless to pursue such futile mirages because they obstruct the genuine flowering of our worldly talents and turn us into frustrated failures.

But then, how poor would our lives be if there was no Walter de la Mare to see the surreal beauty of moonlight and perceive ‘silver fruit upon silver trees’ or if we could not sing along with the die-hard romantic John Keats—‘ I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections, and the truth of imagination’? All these gems come from the depths of the ocean of consciousness which is common to all of us with the only difference that a poet has the capacity to dive, and dive deep, to retrieve such beauties. In this very context, T S Eliot used to talk about the ‘Objective Correlative’ which in his hands assumed an almost mystical connotation. According to him, when a poet expresses a complex thought he joins together different trains of events and objects which then, viewed in this new light, assume the magical capacity to evoke the same feeling in other receptive minds; it is as if he ‘cuts and pastes’ varied events and objects from day-to-day life into one pulsating expression of emotion which all of us can immediately intuit and appreciate. Otherwise, why should Pablo Neruda’s love poems hit you ‘deep down there’ even though he belongs to the distant Chile in some other time frame? Since I was a teenager, I have always been filled with an overwhelming feeling of despair and the futile longings of an unfortunate lover’s heart when I read the following lines of his:
“I can write the saddest lines tonight.
Write for example: ‘The night is fractured
and they shiver, blue, those stars, in the distance’… .”

Or for that matter when Shelley expounds the ‘Philosophy of Love’:

“The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?... .”

Ah, what a divine emotion!

And who can forget the ‘elementary feeling and simple impression’ of a wandering cloud in the rightfully famous Wordsworth poem ‘The Daffodils’:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze… !”

For God’s sake, tell me where would we be, where would humanity be, if there weren’t these ‘madmen’ pursuing those ‘useless’ lanes and bylanes of awareness overflowing with all kinds of apparently unnameable emotions and feelings?

What beauty!

What joy!

What a wonderful articulation of the infinite waves of consciousness!!

... To be continued... .




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